13 Months in the Philippines – Lesson 13 – May 2013 – Exit Plans

Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines

At the end of April, I set a line in the sand. If we couldn’t line up enough co-marketed trainings and consulting gigs by the middle of the month, I would pull up stakes and head back to the US for a while. As the days went on we had several set backs as a key marketing partner decided to cancel the four training dates we had set up in May and a couple of potential consulting clients decided to wait on our training. In looking at expenses as well as several pressing personal issues it became pretty clear by the middle of the month that it was time for another change.

In looking at the amount of money we would need to keep things going versus the short-term revenue options the analytics suggested taking a pause and trying again once we have more capital. A lot of companies use data and analysis to look at where they’ve been, but not as many use analytics to help predict behavior. I think any solid predictive analytics exercise would suggest that there is a lot of money to still be made doing what we started. The market is there. The need is there. The raw talent is there. It’s just a matter of a better plan with more dedicated partners.

At about the same time, my partners also decided to officially disband BPO Elite. It has kind of just hung our there as an empty shell since October. I occasionally used the name and identity for people who new me as the man behind BPO Elite before I launched DMAI. It was a pretty sobering day to say the least when two years of work came to an end. However, it severed its purpose. It opened up doors, it allowed me to have the time of my life and it helped a lot of trainees achieve their dreams of finding jobs.

So after 13 months, I got on a plane and headed back to the United States a man who will never have to say he didn’t go all in for the sake of chasing his dream.

Little did I know, the labor and hard work of these past 13 months laid a foundation that would soon led to some amazing opportunities to come back and try it all again.

Analytics Tool > Business Intelligence Applications > http://www.gatner.com

Analytics Concept > Predictive Analytics > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictive_analytics

YouTube Resource > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjznLJcgSFI&feature=share&list=PL8D46F50D27222FD4

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.

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13 Months in the Philippines – Lesson 12 – April 2013 – The Wheels Come Off

Picture1Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

April 2012, was a tough month. The challenge with filling training classes continued. We had three staff members depart for other opportunities. I ended a six-month engagement with my top client. It was time to switch gears again. We needed to pivot towards doing more outsourcing and consulting and less training.

One good things to come out of April, was the Social Media Analytics Workshop we held for a group of trainees for one of our clients. We discovered some pretty good talent and were able to put together a good team of analysts with a large range of analytics skills and social media savvy. There are a plethora of social media analytics tools built-in to just about every significant social media site. We also learned that the Philippines is the most social media driven country in the world. There is a higher percentage of Filipinos are online and actively using social media that with any other country.

I also continued to blog almost daily as I had learned from a good friend, is the key to monetizing your online business. You need fresh content that is relevant and engaging. You have that and you feed it to your audience on a regular basis, you can then start making a profit off it. Blogging about analytics is a key tool for analysts that’s often overlooked. Most analysts stay embedded in their silo. They focus on the data at hand and they master how to identify, inventory and integrate it. They accumulate a wealth of experience and knowledge and many are blogging about it.

However, in this case it was too little too late. Due to a series of personal and professional challenges it was time to think about what to do if revenue didn’t pick up quickly.

Analytics Tool > Analytics Blog > http://www.wordpress.com

Analytics Concept > Social Media Analytics > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_analytics

YouTube Video > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQYOmQRhzhM&feature=share&list=PL8D46F50D27222FD4

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.

13 Months in the Philippines – Lesson 8 – December 2012 – Holidays in the Philippines

IMG_1114 Kalookan, Metro Manila, Philippines

As 2012 came to a close, things really started to slow down. I took full advantage of this to prepare of a big launch of DMAI in January. We didn’t go home for the holidays, and ended up just staying in Makati to enjoy Christmas and New Years. And boy was it memorable.

The Winter Holidays in the US start with Thanksgiving. That’s when the malls have huge sales and you start seeing Christmas lights and hearing Christmas music in the malls. However in the Philippines that starts in September. So, but December I was pretty fatigued from hearing and seeing the Christmas cheer and looking forward to finally seeing the day come and pass.

There were a couple of additional interesting lessons I learned. From the period between Christmas and just after New Years, all movies show in Manila are Filipino made films. No Hollywood blockbusters or international films. It’s both good and bad, it allows Filipinos to relish in their own productions and guarantees viewing for films that might otherwise be missed. However, they are of course all in Tagalog. I went to one and got some of it, its was a romantic comedy so most of the jokes don’t need translation, but boy wouldn’t it be nice if they had subtitles.

The other one that really stands out is the fireworks. In the US we do fireworks in a big way on July 4th. There are also some on New Years or Veterans Day or Memorial in places, but fireworks really cant be enjoyed when its cold so for the most is just Independence Day. In the Philippines in Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Years Day. Staying on the 10th floor of a corner condo in Makati I could see fireworks all around from Pasay to Manila to Makati. Big and Small. It was amazing. And after the smoke was so thick it was like fog. It was truly amazing.

From an analytics standpoint I took away a couple of things. Know your holidays. For example, if you are an American company doing business in the Philippines know the holidays so you can keep your people happy. The second is that someone needs to do some analysis on the lost revenue of just showing Filipino films. They still make good money, but it has to be tough on the cinemas to sacrifice profit for art over a two-week period where everyone is at the malls.

Analytics Tool > Enchantment > http://www.guykawasaki.com/enchantment/

Analytics Concept > Business Partnership > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_partnership

YouTube Resource > http://youtu.be/f66naHGTsFU

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business. 

13 Months in the Philippines – Lesson 6 – October 2012 – You Can’t Go Home Again

004Alabang, Metro Manila, Philippines

October was a crazy month. Started out with an office in Taugig. Then spent most of the month in Clark. End the month back in California for vacation. Each story could be its own blog post, but for the sake of moving the narrative along, I’ll just briefly touch on each.

We found this great office space in Taugig. It wasn’t the best location, but good enough. It wasn’t the perfect size, but more than enough for our first year or so. And it was very reasonable as far as price and lease terms. The problem was we weren’t making enough money to cover the cost and my partners felt it to risky to keep the office with the hope that we eventually start making positive revenue. It would have made a great home. I’m still convinced that was a huge mistake because with a dedicated space I could have been running all kinds of trainings and seminars there. Anyway, it’s another simple analytics exercise. Basic accounting is always a foundation of any analytics exercise. Are you brining in enough money to pay the bills?

Going to Clark was a pretty cool experience. I got used to taking the MRT from Makati to QC everyday, I like the drive on the NLEX, and I felt at home in Clark. Being an old American Air Force base in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of the Philippines, it felt like I was in Florida. Having grown up in a military family and spending most of my childhood summers in Florida… its was like being home again. Getting out into the provinces on a regular basis reaffirmed my belief that the future of the BPO industry is not in Manila. Things didn’t work our with your client, but I made a lot of connections in Clark that will always be worth the lost time on the failed project. One of the key lessons here, understand the amount of effort it takes your workforce, clients and/or customers to travel to get to you. A lot of companies don’t really analyze the market they are set up in, especially when it comes to recruiting talent.

At the end of October we came back to the US for a mini vacation and it was well-timed. BPO Elite was dying, the family needed some comfort time back home and it was just in time to catch the Giants winning the World Series. However, after spending six of the most amazing months of my life in the Philippines, it really didn’t feel like home. Its a lesson I’ve known since I spent a semester of high school in Japan, but home really is where the heart is. And for so many reasons for me that’s no longer the US. It’s the Philippines. You cant go home again, because where ever you are passionate and feeling alive… that’s where home is. And its the hardest part of analytics to understand… because there are no number or datapoints involved.

Analytics Tool > Microsoft Power Point > http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint/

Analytics Concept > Process Improvement > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process_improvement

YouTube Resource > http://youtu.be/Q89qAbAAR3Q

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business. 

13 Month in the Philippines – Lesson 5 – September 2012 – Cracks in the Pavement

IMG_0994 Clark, Pampanga, Philippines

In September we stated working for a client that at first seemed to be a wonderful opportunity. They asked us to help them set up a manpower staffing business in Clark, Pampanga. It was a very interesting proposition. We would go out and sell the business and get a 50% commission on any business we brought in the door. We were given an office space, internet access, business cards, a business proposal and we found a list of potential clients to market too. We started doing a multi channel sales campaign with an e-mail blitz, phone call and in-person meetings. We also did some deep dive competitor research including mystery shopping. And we networked with the government agency in charge of the Clark Freeport Trade Zone. But we made a lot of assumptions and mistakes and after about three weeks of travelling from Makati to Clark (about 2 hours each way), things hadn’t worked out the way we had hoped for. Let’s look at a couple of the issues and analyze them.

1. We decided to set up shop in an area we were not at all familiar with. To mitigate this we hired a local with manpower experience.
2. We had to spend a lot of time travelling, so we had a small window for meetings. So we made sure all appointments where confirmed the day before.
3. We wanted to get to know the way things worked. So I networked with several key people via LinkedIn and in person appointments.
4. We didn’t have any upfront revenue. We got our client to pay most of the upfront costs for marketing and promotions.
5. We need to get our name out there. We sponsored a job fair and I got a speaking engagement at the event.
6. We had to assess the market opportunity. I had a couple of trainees build a prospective client database and map out locations.

So all things looked good. We had a great opportunity, I had applied a lot of analysis and we were ready to go.

But there were crack in the foundation and they had nothing to do with my analysis or our strategy. They had to do with people.

Even the best laid plans don’t work our if you cant count on the people to execute the plans. Partners got distracted, staff had to deal with personal challenges and personal life started to suffer from professional stresses. By the end of September there were more cracks in the pavement then I had cement to fill them with.

But it was still so much fun, so much adventure, so much excitement I just rolled with the blows and kept pushing forward!

Analytics Tool > Tableau Public > http://www.tableausoftware.com/public/

Analytics Concept > Competitor Landscape > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competitive_intelligence

YouTube Resource > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj1q4zunuN0&feature=share&list=PL8D46F50D27222FD4

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business. 

13 Months in the Philippines- Lesson 4 – August 2012 – Mother Nature Strikes

IMG_1011Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

In late July, 2012, the Philippines was pounded by several typhoons and monsoon rains. There was one period where it rained hard for four days straight non-stop. Before the storms, I was in full swing… setting up speaking engagements, attending job fairs, conducting trainings, and shopping for clients, but then the storms came and everything ground to a halt. At the time, after three months of non-stop working, it seemed like a nice respite.

For those of you who have never been in Manila during a flood, its pretty hard to describe with out it sounding dramatic. In short, the city floods almost every year for a number of reasons. The people are just used to it. Walking in water up to your waste and dealing with school and business closures… its now big thing to most residents of Manila. But for me it was a pretty overwhelming experience. After coming back from a field trip on the 3rd day of the heavy rains, my son was stranded at his school. And I was powerless to do much. We walked a couple of miles from Makati to Manila in heavy downpours to get to his school. There were no taxis or public transit, so we had quite an adventure getting back from Manila to Makati.

Anyway, because of the floods, I did have to cancel once training class. It was a full class of 15 and had a lot of people with call center experience. It would have been a very fun class.

After the floods, things changed pretty significantly and pretty rapidly. More on that in the next blog post. But August was kind of a lost month. I didn’t conduct any other trainings that month due to scheduling issues and for the first time I started to wonder if my plans were going to work.

As an analyst, this is where I had to do a better job looking at and listening to the data. We weren’t making a lot of money on the public trainings and we had only placed 3 of our initial 30+ trainees directly. The business model was not working as it was intended to. Our ROI was not good for job fairs, we were not getting clients to sign up with us directly and I hadn’t quite figured out the marketing yet. So based on all the info, a change in course had to be made. So by the end of August BPO Elite moved in an entirely new direction.

Analytics Tool > SuveryMonkey > http://www.surveymonkey.com

Analytics Concept > Customer Insights > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_insight

YouTube Video > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS_IkObdTc0&feature=share&list=PL7EC252B253873D5D

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business. 

13 Months in the Philippines – Lesson 3 – July 2012 – Growing the Business


Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

So after two months of putting the pieces together, it was time to start aggressively growing the business. With an office in Fort Bonafacio, two hard working employees, some amazing trainees and a clear plan of attack we set out to train and place as many analysts as possible. Based on the trainings we had done in May and June, the Intro to Analytics class was rock solid. We were attracting more and more candidates for the class, we had some clients offering us ad-hoc analytics work and we places three analysts with our first key business partner. SO how did we get there?

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When I talk to people about business strategy, the first thing I ask is what kind of data are they using? How are the accessing it and how do they refresh and measure it? You need to know the competition, you need to know the demographics of your clients and your market and you have to have customer insight data. Here is who we got it.

Who trains people to be analysts? Not really anyone externally to their own company. To date, I still believe we were the first analytics training program in Manila. So we were competing with other training programs and hiring processes. So we went to job fairs and we published online. We tracked recruiting expenses and determined ROI. A couple of our trainees did some in-depth competitor analysis to know who was hiring analysts, what their duties where and how much they were getting paid.

We also got really good at understanding the best candidates for our program. IT and CompSci grads from the mid-tier college and universities. We started targeting them directly via LinkedIn and at job fairs. We put together a candidate database and started using Bullhorn’s free tool.

And we gather a lot of client satisfaction data. We surveyed our trainees using Survey Monkey, we asked them to write LinkedIn testimonials and we set up a Facebook group to network. We asked our clients for feedback and posted highlights on the web site, the Facebook page and the LinkedIn.

We were rocking and rolling! And than Mother Nature started being a problem.

Analytics Tool > Wikipedia > http://www.wikipedia.org

Analytics Concept > Demographic Profile > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_profile

YouTube Resource > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aHtHl-jcAs&feature=share&list=PL7EC252B253873D5D

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business. 

13 Months in the Philippines – Lesson 2 – June 2012 – Training is My Passion

522Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

I did a trial run of the Introduction to Analytics training back in December 2011 with some interns and business partners, which helped me prepare a two-day training class. I launched the two-day class with the target of fresh grads in late May 2012, and I conducted several of the classes over the course of the next six months. It was in June however that I really figured out that I was an amazing trainer and that I could enchant an audience by talking about analytics.

I have always liked being in front of an audience and being empowered to talk about things I am passionate about it. I get a huge rush of adrenaline that can last for several hours. This calling originally led me to traditional classroom teaching but after several misadventures post graduate school, I took the job with Wells Fargo to pay the bills. Fifteen years later I left Wells to do training full time. In the interim I did a lot of ad-hoc and informal training in various way at Wells although I never had trainer in the title.

Per Wikipedia, a Trainer is a person who educates employees of companies on specific topics of workplace importance. While a teacher is simply who provide schooling for pupils and students. I have found that I am exactly in the middle. And there are very, very few people who can train like a teacher. People who can provide hands on, useful content in a short time frame, but deliver it in way that has the empowering effect of taking an actual academic style class are worth their weight in gold. These are the great trainers or favorite instructors who end up becoming speaker and lectures. They have both the ability to train on skill and teach on knowledge. This is what I learned about myself last June.

From an analytics standpoint, I learned a lot about how to construct a training program. Budget, Recruitment, Venue Management, Staffing, Marketing, etc. I learned a lifetime worth of lessons in a few months. I was able to look at each of these topics and find data to compare what I was doing to other benchmarks. Am I efficient, am I cost-effective, am I marketable. Lots and lots of data to bring into my analysis of how to grow my business.

Analytics Tool > Microsoft Excel > http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/

Analytics Concept > Big Data > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data

YouTube Resource > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhjuyH4RTrM&feature=share&list=PL7EC252B253873D5D

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.

13 Months in the Philippines

Updated 12/10/16…

I wrote this 4.5 years ago. As my 5 year plan to become a name brand in analytics in the Philippines comes to a close, I thought it a good time to select on the lessons of my first year. So I will repost these lessons from what seems like a lifetime a goal to see what I have truly learned from my adventures. 

After having a month of vacation, I been able to do a lot of reflecting on my 13 Months in the Philippines. My plan is to share with you some of the life lessons I learned from the experience. I had an amazing time, getting to live my professional dream and impacting hundreds of people. I also learned as many important lessons in my personal life as well. And since its an analytics blog, I will also include some analytics insights as well.

Introduction
Lesson 1 – May 2012 – Finding the Right People
Lesson 2 – June 2012 – Training is My Passion
Lesson 3 – July 2012 – Growing the Business
Lesson 4 – August 2012 – Mother Nature Strikes
Lesson 5 – September 2012 – Cracks in the Pavement
Lesson 6 – October 2012 – You Cant Go Home Again
Lesson 7 – November 2012 – Flying Solo
Lesson 8 – December 2012 – Holidays in the Philippines
Lesson 9 – January 2013 – New Beginnings
Lesson 10 – February 2013 – The Future is Bright
Lesson 11 – March 2013 – Missed Opportunities
Lesson 12 – April 2013 – The Wheels Come Off
Lesson 13 – May 2012 – Exit Plans
Epilogue

At the bottom of each blog post you will see links to various analytics tools, concepts and YouTube videos to help add more color to my experiences.

Hope you like it enough to follow along!

My Analytics Story – My passion is solving problems by bringing together the best talent, cutting edge technology and tried and true methodologies. DMAIPH is all about empowering people towards better Decision-Making through the use Analytics and business Intelligence. This is what I do best. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly for a free consultation about getting more analytics into your career and your business.